James' infected finger is looking bad going into the reward challenge, where everyone's mood is brightened by the presence of family. Parvati and Natalie get their mothers, Alexis, Amanda, and Erik get their siblings (Erik's is surprisingly cool and has regular hair), James gets his dad, and Cirie gets her husband. Alexis wins the reward challenge and gets to choose two other players and their family members to accompany her and her brother to Jellyfish Lake, which we've seen before as a reward back in the Palau season. Alexis selects Cirie and Natalie and then gets to choose who goes to Exile Island. She sends Amanda, who doesn't seem to mind. While everyone's off at reward or Exile, the medics check James' finger again and decide he has to leave the game, as the infection is too deep and too close to his finger joint. Consoled by the fact that he'll now get to eat all the apples he wants, he gives a tearful Parvati a friendly hug good-bye on his way out. While Alexis, Cirie, and Natalie check out some jellyfish and Cirie conquers her fear of the outdoors (in regards to non-stinging jellyfish, at least), Amanda proves that she really does have a purpose in this game as she finds all the clues to the latest hidden immunity idol. She also finds out it's not buried on Exile Island, but under the flag back at camp by a very, very clever producer. Amanda is reunited with the James-less group for the immunity challenge, which Erik wins. The women knows this means they're going to have to vote out an alliance member, and the most likely candidate is Amanda, who tells everyone she didn't get the immunity idol on Exile and dumps out her bag to prove it. So while they're off talking about booting Amanda, she's off plotting with Parvati to dig up the idol and not tell anyone else. Of course, we don't find out if Amanda was able to get the idol until tribal council, where she plays hurt and angry at an inevitable boot and everyone buys it. And then when the votes have been cast and tallied and Probst asks if anyone wants to play their idol, Amanda waits a second for effect before triumphantly handing Probst her idol, shocking the others and making me jump up and down on my couch and cheer for her, because it was awesome. The jury (now including James and his IV pole, like, if he has to walk with an IV pole maybe he's not healthy enough to be there yet?) act similarly, especially, of course, Eliza. With four votes for Amanda discounted, Alexis -- the person who sent Amanda to Exile Island and the idol in the first place -- is voted out, while tough-talking "ruthless" Natalie looks like she wants to throw up.
We open where we left off last week, with James reporting to the official "Survivor Medical Services" boat, where his bandages are removed and the doctor lady gets yet more screen time. She's like another contestant at this point! James tells us that the cut on his finger was "no big deal" and probably came from a clam shell. I think it's from another evil challenge. It's no big deal, and yet he's hooked up to an IV (presumably full of antibiotics) while the doctor cleans out the wound and warns James that if the infection gets worse, he may no longer be able to use that finger joint. "That's not something that we want at all," she assures us. James agrees, especially since in his grave-digging profession, that could be a career-ending injury. The doctor says they'll check it out tomorrow morning, and if it still looks bad, he'll have to go to the hospital.
Can I just say that Amanda looks kind of bad ass in the opening credits where she's jumping into the water and breaking a tile? For some reason, this week seems like the right time to do that. James returns to Dabu, where Amanda is sincerely worried about his condition and the rest of the girls fake their concern. James brushes it off, saying the finger is just "inflamed." Amanda tells us (in creepy night vision!) that James' finger injury is really close to the joint, which is bad. The medics will come back tomorrow and look at it to determine if he can stay in the game. Amanda's hoping he will, of course.
The next morning, Alexis wants some of James' attention so she shows off an injury of her own. Apparently she was wandering around in the dark last night and fell. In fact, it was "the worst fall I've ever had," she says. I personally don't have a list of my falls and their rankings, but Alexis is special. The injury doesn't look too bad from what I can tell -- just a scrape below her left knee -- but it's hard to tell. She whines about the injury while Cirie tells us that she knows she shouldn't be saying this since she's a nurse, but she's positively delighted at this turn of events, as that's two less people in her way to a million dollars. FOR REAL! It's true! You know everyone's thinking it!
Terrible music plays us into the reward challenge. Seriously, what instrument is that? It sounds like a combination of a train whistle and a fart. The players enter to find little dolls versions of themselves. The Erik doll is a particularly accurate depiction. I don't think they got the Natalie doll's boobs right, but then, neither did her surgeon. Parvati laughs that they got her bikini right on her doll. I'd imagine that's because the guys in charge of painting them have spent many a minute staring at that bikini and what it holds. Probst gets down to business and explains the challenge. The contestants will answer survey questions about themselves in private, and then answer them, trying to guess which name was said by the majority of the players. With each correct answer, you get to chop another player's rope. Once that player's rope has been chopped three times, it'll send a weight down onto a spiked pole that will destroy the doll. The challenge people loved the custom dolls so much that they couldn't bear to destroy one of them for the purposes of demonstration and destroyed an unpainted one instead. The last player with an intact doll is the winner. And what will he or she win? It's friends and family time!